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The History of the

Sumter Junior Welfare League


In 1934 Priscilla Shaw organized the first group of women in Sumter interested in volunteering their time to the community. Twelve ladies met in December of that year and the Sumter Junior Welfare League was formed. Today from its humble beginnings with 12 members, the League has over 120 Active members plus Provisional members and over 300 sustaining members bringing our total membership to over 500 women. Our membership includes all types of professional women as well as homemakers.


The first president was Rekah Francis and the second was Priscilla Shaw, Sumter's first and only female mayor. Her brother, Ervin Shaw, is the person that Shaw AFB is named after.


The purpose of the League is to foster interest among its members in the social, economic, educational, cultural and civic conditions of the community, to make efficient their volunteer service, and to develop their potential as continuing community leaders. Our mission has not changed much since its inception. We find out about needs in the community and thoroughly research them to determine if it is a feasible project. If our Community Research Committee determines that it is, we take it on as Placement and continue it for many years, but often we turn it over to the community or another organization that can run it.


The first League members realized that in order to carry out some of these projects, funding was needed. The early years were spent holding various fund raisers such as yard sales, bridge tournaments, coat hanger sales, revues and fashion shows.


1948 was the year of the Follies, when husbands were conned into performing and they had a puppet show and sold fudge for 5 cents a bag. They made a total of $16.96! Rummage sales were held every Saturday from March through June, as well.


In October of 1954, the Tuomey Hospital Canteen, now our gift shop, called the Wishing Well, was born. When the Canteen came into being, the ladies found that they could spend more time on worthwhile causes and less time on fund raising. The first year, they cleared $126. We are not the Canteen anymore, but the Wishing Well, and the profits this past year enable us to give more than $84,000 to the community. In addition, we pledged $25,000 to the Tuomey Infants and Women's Pavilion.


Some of the past projects included providing Christmas for the needy, a rolling library for the hospital, scholarship funds, preschool clinics, and a camp for indigent children. In 1940, the League saw that all needy first graders had their tonsils removed. During World War II the ladies worked with the Red Cross, Civil Defense, and the USO. In 1952, a community guidance center called the Family Welfare Service was begun. The League worked with this project for many years until the Government took over Welfare services.


The League started the Sumter Volunteers, which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary and the Greenhouse Runaway Shelter. These two are examples of organizations which are now functioning on their own. In the past, we have worked with Meals on Wheels, Mothers Pajamas a crisis center and Sumter Day School, now known as the Sumter Developmental Learning Center. These are some of the many projects and organizations the League has had a hand in and touched.


The League is currently committed to 7 Placements in our community and financial assistance to approximately 25 organizations each year.

Charter Members

* Mary Baker
* Allene Bland
* Martha Brice
* Annie Peyre Chandler
* Margaret Clarke
* Martha Mclnnis DuVall

* Rekah Francis
* Dolly Harvin
* Allene O'Donnell
* Mary Clowney Price
* Priscilla Shaw
* Louise Skinner





* Rekah Francis
* Priscilla Shaw
* Hassie Booth
* Mary Clowney Price
* Sunny Korn
* Anne Johnson
* Helen Covington
* Virginia Lee Palmer
* Tillie McDuffie
* Mary Snyder
* Alice Bultman
* Mildred Hinks
Sis Thompson
*Clara Ellen Fowler
* Annette Roddey
* Pretto Cuttino
* Pinkie Howell
Alice Harrelson
* Carolyn Edwards
Margaret Hunter
Betty Burnett
*Helen Propst
Deloris Boyle
Betty Newton
Pat Bynum
Katie Levi
Pat DuBose
Eise Moseley
Anne Haynie
Connie Britton
Pat Fidler
Jennie Ariail
Brenda Shaw
Lynne Richardson
Sandy Noonan
Winnie Gee
Cantey Carpenter
Carolyn McCoy
* Brandon McQuage
Kathy Ardis
Micki Harritt
Susan James
Dotty Kolb
Kathy Creech
Ashley Lareau
Debby Williams
Mary Ellen Blanding
Jackie Olsen
Lib Burke
Caren Schwartz
*Martha McElveen Horne
Mary Deakin
Wayne Lynch
Louise Marlowe
Kay Smith
Fran Fisher
Denice Merrick
Meg Creech
Suzann Sears
Marian Carnes
Mary Sheridan
Nicole Norris
Linn Richardson
Shelly Galloway
Cheryl Baker
Mary Kolb
Gray Maklary

  Suzanne Palmer

Mary Geddings

Gretchen Meyers

Molly Matthews

Valerie James

Vicki Singleton

Bronwyn McElveen

Amy Stallings

Stacy Montgomery


* Deceased

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